Nobel Committee recognizes Environment

The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Gore, who actually would have won the 2000 US presidential election were it not for his conceding prematurely to Dubaya after the "spoiled ballots" fiasco in Jed Bush's home state, earlier won an Academy Award for his film An Inconvenient Truth.

Needless to say, American political conservatives have been critical of the film, of the choice of Gore as recipient of the Nobel Prize, and of the abundant inconvenient-to-greed scientific data concerning the undeniable fact of global warming. The inconvenient truth, which dismays liberals as much as conservatives, is that we cannot with impunity continue to abuse the environment.

Liberals, meanwhile, have responded with declarations that Gore should announce his presidential candidacy or that he is proving to be a beneficial influence and should continue on his current course.

The difference, of course, between liberals and conservatives has been the willingness of liberals to accept the unpleasant news and to express concern for the environment. Conservatives, undoubtedly motivated largely by the big business lobby, have denied the facts and ridiculed any who warn of the unwelcome news that we must curb fossil fuel emissions. Those conservatives who have finally acknowledged that the planet is indeed warming, include many who continue to deny the anthropogenic component of this trend.

On the topic of Gore's presentation of global warming predictions, Tim Lambert (Deltoid blog) provides a good summary of scientists' asssessments: Update on the nine alleged errors in An Inconvenient Truth, which is a follow-up on An 'error' is not the same thing as an error.

Problems with denial of global warming continue, typically fueled by partisan political positions or naked greed. Some outspoken deniers of climatologic facts, such as (shudder) Canadian Tim Ball, have been accused of being on the payroll of the energy industry. Recently, the 'framing wars' expanded to embrace global warming information. PZ Myers complains of "a day that will live in inframey" in sympathy with a blog post entitled Matthew Nisbet says entire environmental movement should just shut up in which Chris Clark complains of Nisbet's assumption that Gore did not frame the environmental message to the liking of Republicans. This was in response to Does Gore Contribute to the Communication Crisis?, in which Nisbet blames Gore for the fact that Republic concern about global warming has fallen while that of Democrats has risen. According to Nisbet, Gore ought not to have used 'scare tactics' to convey the message of global warming threats to Republicans.

MSNBC: Warming Signals . Ice at the Edge Interactives : Carbon trade game . The greenhouse effect . Cooling the planet . Eyeing the ice . Capturing CO2 . Melting mountains . Melting mountains .

British Royal Society: comment on Nobel Peace Prize . Climate change controversies: a simple guide .

Variegata dysfunctionosa

Planted on the planet a mere 8 or so million years ago were hominid bushes destined to be pruned into a strangling vine – us!

Environment - Blog Action Day

On October 15, 2007, more than 4,000 blogs are committed to posting on an environmental topic.

Join the blog action by clicking on the image.

Global Warming Denialism

Why is global warming denialism connected to fundamentalist religionism and creationism? I am not certain, though I do have a hunch. Judging by the frequent association between the phenomena, there certainly does seem to be a connection.

Judging by their websites and their rhetoric, fundamentalist religionists are more likely than the moderately religious or atheists to be politically conservative and economically greedy; anti-science and anti-expert; pseudoscience prone and science ignorant; hateful, bigoted moralists; and, illogical, categorical, wishful-thinking, myth-favoring, magic-thinkers about a range of topics. In short, too many of these obtusely ignorant folk are hateful and selfish. Don't be fooled by the 'God bless' afterthought with which they close their tirades.

Denial of global warming is not confined to fundamentalist religionists, but it is much more common amongst them. I have seen denialism on one atheist website.

I am not a climatologist, though I am convinced by the evidence that anthropogenic global warming is (alas!) a fact and that we must all act to curb greenhouse emissions as much as possible.

This last element to the discussion – that we must modify our behavior is, of course, the reason for denialism by the determinedly selfish amongst skeptics who would rather deny the science than modify their lifestyle. Liberal environmentalists are no happier with the news on climate change than are conservative denialists – in fact, because they are facing the facts, liberal environmentalists are probably more unhappy about the situation.

The graph shows the instrumental record of global average temperatures as compiled by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office.

Data set HadCRUT3 was used. HadCRUT3 is a record of surface temperatures collected from land and ocean-based stations. The most recent documentation for this data set is Brohan, P., J.J. Kennedy, I. Haris, S.F.B. Tett and P.D. Jones (2006). "Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850". J. Geophysical Research 111: D12106. doi:10.1029/2005JD006548. Following the common practice of the IPCC, the zero on this figure is the mean temperature from 1961-1990. This figure was originally prepared by Robert A. Rohde from publicly available data and is part of the Global Warming Art project.

Be warned about blogs – many are the right-wing denialist blogs of science-ignorant conservatives who seem to imagine that this crisis has been manufactured, not by greenhouse gases, but for some unnamed 'nefarious, liberal, political purpose'. I have yet to see a good explanation for why liberals or environmentalists would invent or exaggerate the crisis.
anthropogenic global warming, global warming,